Popular Genres and the Norms of Culture Essay

Popular Genres and the Norms of Culture Essay

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Popular Genres and the Norms of Culture


Popular Genres - love them or hate them, they influence everyday people, everyday.  Whether this influence is direct or indirect, consciously or unconsciously absorbed does not matter.  What is important is how and why they have such a strong power over the viewer.  Whilst simultaneously affirming and subverting the norms of culture, popular genres also function as a site of contestation for the values, beliefs and ideologies represented within them. In lay terms, they uphold the cultural beliefs, values and ideologies that are accepted and taken for granted in western society and at the same time question and undermine these principles.  In doing so, they allow the viewer to question and oppose the ideals which they radiate.


Popular Genres work to normalize certain cultural aspects and beliefs embodied within them.  These aspects are often portrayed so incorrectly that they either border on, or are completely submerged in ideology.  The three main ideologies represented in almost all forms of Popular Genre are that of patriarchy, romance and the struggle between good and evil behavior.  Occasionally all three ideologies, or a combination of two are juxtaposed to create an impressive text.  In order to appreciate how each of these ideologies works to subvert and conform to the `norms' of culture it is necessary to first analyze how each works to manipulate the audience.


The ideology of patriarchy is probably the least widely known of the three.  

The main genre that it is embodied in is the family domestic genre, often portrayed in the situation comedy.  Characteristically the story follows a simple narrative framework whereby stoc...


... middle of paper ...


...livan, T; Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies; London: Routledge, 1994

·    Thwaites, T., Davis, L. and Mules, W; Introducing Cultural and Media Studies; Hampshire: Palgrave, 2002


Websites Used in Research

·    Kyle's "The Wonder Years"; http://www.mytwyyearbook.tripod.com - transcript archive

·    The Simpsons archive; http://www.snpp.com/episodes.html - Life on the fast Lane

·    Väätäinen, M; The Simpsons Characters as Caricatures of Social Reality in the United States, A FAST-US-7 (TRENAV2C) United States Popular Culture Paper; Department of Translation Studies, University of Tamperehttp;2002  taken from //www.uta.fi/FAST/US7/PAPS/mv-simps.html

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